Pumpkin Macarons are a delicious fall treat. These cookies made with fall spices and a tint of orange are filled with a pumpkin Swiss meringue buttercream for a light and silky filling. These macarons are the perfect cookie to celebrate the season.
As summer winds down, I begin to get excited about fall baking. Fall spices, apples, and pumpkins are a few of my favorite ingredients. These flavors transform into so many desserts, and macarons are no exception. For this recipe, I've taken classic French macarons and created a festive fall cookie. They begin with a cookie flavored with the warm spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves, and are filled with a Swiss meringue buttercream that tastes like pumpkin pie. I've included my tips and techniques to create the perfect macarons.
Before you begin
Take out the following baking equipment.
Digital kitchen scale
1.5″ (3.5 cm) round cookie cutter
1 baking sheet pan
1 medium bowl
Stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment
1 silicone spatula
2 pastry bags
1 round pastry tip
Allow all of the ingredients to come to room temperature.
Read the recipe through from start to finish.
Almond flour is an essential ingredient in French macarons. Compared to other nut flours, it absorbs the most amount of moisture, which is necessary for macarons. The dryer the flour, the more moisture it will absorb from the other ingredients. If you have some extra time, allow your almond flour to air dry for a couple of days before making the macarons. Always select almond flour made from skinned almonds. If your almond flour is coarse, you can put it in a food processor with the powdered sugar and blend for 10 seconds.
Macarons require a fair amount of sugar to create a brittle, shiny shell on the outside. You will notice that the total amount of sugar (a combination of powder sugar and granulated sugar) is greater than any other amount of ingredient. Any reduction in the amount of sugar for the macaron shells will affect their appearance and texture.
Egg whites are another essential ingredient for making macarons. The protein holds together the air bubbles created during the mixing process to maintain the cookies' structure.
Pumpkin puree is added to the Swiss meringue buttercream for a pumpkin pie filling flavor. Make sure to use pure pumpkin puree as opposed to pumpkin pie filling.
The essentials of a perfect macaron
Precise ingredient quantities. Using a scale to measure your ingredients is essential. It is the only way to ensure that you have accurate and consistent measurements. A scale will eliminate any variable in ingredients that could affect your final result.
Meringue. Creating a stable meringue is key to producing perfect macarons. This stage in the process can cause many issues if not done right. To make a stable meringue, you should whip the meringue until stiff, shiny peaks form.
Proper macaronage. Macaronage is the process of folding the dry ingredients into the meringue. This step, if not done correctly, can result in a variety of issues. While folding the ingredients together, you want to deflate some of the air in the batter with a spatula against the sides of the bowl. Doing this will help create the proper consistency.
Oven temperature accuracy. Even if you have made the perfect batter, the oven temperature could make or break your macarons. Allow enough time for your oven to preheat, about 20-30 minutes. For complete accuracy, you can keep an oven thermometer in your oven to ensure it's the correct temperature.
Aging egg whites
An additional step, but not a necessary step, is aging the egg whites before making macarons. Doing this allows some of the water to evaporate, resulting in stronger egg whites that can hold more air. For the aging process, store the egg whites in a loosely covered bowl on the counter overnight in a dry, cool room.
Ideal consistency for macaron batter
During the hand mixing process, always test the consistency of the batter often to prevent overmixing. Once the batter flows like honey or has a lave-like consistency, it's ready to pipe the mixture. You should be able to slowly trace a figure 8 with the batter without it breaking. At this point, stop mixing your batter.
The macaron shells have hollow interiors. This issue results from over whipping the egg whites. Mix the meringue just until the white clings to the bowl, and a small, stiff mass of meringue begins to clump in the middle of the mixer. Additionally, over baking your macarons can cause hollow interiors. Check that your oven temperature is correct and take your macarons out of the oven sooner if necessary.
The macarons cracked in the oven. Not allowing enough time for the macaron shells to dry out before baking could cause them to crack in the oven. On humid days, the drying process could take longer. If the macarons are piped too wide, this could also cause them to crack in the oven. To prevent this, make sure to pipe macarons no larger than 3.5 cm (1.5″).
The macaron feet are too tall. Macaron feet that rise quickly and become tall can happen from an oven temperature that is too hot or overwhipping the meringue. It is better to bake macarons at a lower temperature for a longer period than a higher temperature for a shorter period. Also, careful not to overwhip the egg whites. Stop whipping them once you achieve stiff, shiny peaks.
Tips and takeaways
- Careful not to include any yolk into your egg whites (or any grease for that matter in your bowl). Any oil will prevent your egg whites from turning into a fluffy and stable meringue for both the macaron shells and buttercream.
- Macarons can be tricky to make, especially when you are first starting. They do require practice to get them right. I recommend watching lots of videos on how-to making macarons. There are many recipes but few variations in technique. A visual guide will allow you to see what your meringue should look like and the proper consistency of your batter.
- You will have some buttercream leftover. You can store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months. Before using, bring to room temperature and re-whip with a mixer.
- Whenever you color macarons, I highly recommend using soft gel paste food coloring. For this recipe, I used Americolor pumpkin soft gel food coloring.
If you love French desserts, try these other recipes...
Make sure to tag me @thesweetoccasion on Instagram and leave me a review below if you make these Pumpkin Macarons. I'd love to see your creations and read your feedback. And if you would like to make this recipe later, be sure to pin this recipe using the button on any of these images. Let's make every occasion a sweet occasion!Print